Rocks In The Attic #386: Gerry Rafferty – ‘Night Owl’ (1979)

RITA#386I bought this record at the Auckland vinyl collectors fair the other week, and of the twenty five slabs of wax I brought home with me that day, this is hands down my favourite. I’d never heard the album before – I knew Gerry Rafferty obviously, because of Baker Street and Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You – but I’m loving every minute of it.

There might not be a hit as big as Baker Street (from 1978’s City To City) on this, but the album still contains a great bunch of songs. There were three singles released from the album – the title track plus Days Gone Down and Get It Right Next Time. All of these make regular appearances on radio to this day, and hearing them so many times on Radio 2 when I used to work on the road in the UK has probably conditioned me into being a Gerry Rafferty fan.

To my ears, the best thing about Gerry Rafferty – other than the songs themselves – is his voice. I’m not sure why it sounds great – whether it naturally sounds that good or whether there’s an element of studio trickery involved (with double-tracking or heavy compression, for example). It sounds luminous, and I just know I like it!

The ever ubiquitous Richard Thompson turns up on three tracks – really, he must be the unsung hero of my record collection. He’s like the Where’s Wally / Waldo of music. On the downside, probably the only naff thing about the entire record is the fact that on the insert’s photo montage, Rafferty and the production staff are all wearing navy blue v-neck sweaters emblazoned with ‘Chipping Norton Studios’, where the album was recorded. Hardly rock n’ roll, guys.

Hit: Night Owl

Hidden Gem: Days Gone Down

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